Via Crucis with young people

Por: Papa Francisco

Jóvenes cubanos cargan la cruz en una estación del Vía Crucis en la JMJ 2019


Dear young people of the world:

Walking with Jesus will always be a grace and a risk.

It is grace, because he commits us to live in faith and to know him, entering deep into his heart, understanding the strength of his word.

It is risk, because in Jesus, his words, his gestures, his actions, contrast with the spirit of the world, with human ambition, with the proposals of a culture of discarding and deamoration.

There is a certainty that fills this Way of the Cross with hope: Jesus walked it with love. And so did the Glorious Virgin, who from the beginning of the Church wanted to sustain with her tenderness the path of evangelization.

Lord, Father of Mercy, in this Coastal Ribbon, together with so many young people from all over the world, we have accompanied your Son on the way of the Cross; that path he wanted to walk for us, to show us how much you love us and how committed you are to our lives.

Jesus’ path to Calvary is a path of suffering and loneliness that continues in our day. He walks, suffers in so many faces who suffer the satisfied and anesthetized indifference of our society, a society that is consumed and consumed, ignored and ignored in the pain of his brothers and sisters.

We too, your friends Lord, let ourselves be carried away by apathy, immobility. There are few times that conformism has beaten and paralyzed us. It has been difficult to recognize you in the suffering brother: we have looked away, not to see; we have taken refuge in the noise, so as not to hear; we’ve covered our mouths, so as not to scream.

Always the same temptation. It is easier and “paying” to be friends in victories and glory, in success and in applause; it’s easier to be close to what’s considered popular and winning.

How easy it is to fall into the culture of bullying, harassment, intimidation, incarnation with the weak.

For you it is not so Lord, on the cross you identified with all suffering, with all who feel forgotten.

For you it is not so Lord, for you wanted to embrace all those whom we often consider unworthy of a hug, a caress, a blessing; or, worse, we don’t even realize they need it, we ignore them.

For you it is not so Lord, on the cross you join the way of the cross of every young man, of each situation to transform it into a path of resurrection.

Father, today the way of your Son is prolonged:

it continues in the suffocated cry of children who are prevented from being born and so many others who are denied the right to have children, family, education; in children who can’t play, sing, dream…

it continues on women who are mistreated, exploited and abandoned, stripped and uninuneted in their dignity;

and in the sad eyes of young people who see their hopes for the future taken away by a lack of education and decent work;

It continues in the anguish of young faces, our friends who fall into the networks of unscrupulous people, including people who claim to serve you, Lord, networks of exploitation, criminality and abuse, who feed on their lives.

Your Son’s raw path continues in so many young people and families who, absorbed in a spiral of death from drugs, alcohol, prostitution, and trafficking, are deprived not only of the future, but of present. And just as they distributed your garments, Lord, their dignity is distributed and mistreated.

Your Son’s raw path continues in young people with pursed faces who lost the ability to dream, create, invent tomorrow, and “retire” with the sinsabor of resignation and conformism, one of the most commonly used drugs in our time.

It is prolonged by the hidden and outrageous pain of those who, instead of solidarity on the part of a society full of abundance, find rejection, pain and misery, and are also singled out and treated as the bearers and responsible for all social evil.

Your Son’s passion extends into the resigned loneliness of the elders, which we leave abandoned and discarded.

It continues in the original peoples, who are stripped of their lands, their roots and culture, silencing and extinguishing all the wisdom they have and can bring us.

Father, the way of your Son’s crucis is prolonged in the cry of our mother earth, who is wounded in her bowels by the pollution of her heavens, by the infertility in her fields, by the dirt of her waters, and which is trampled by contempt and mad consumption that surpasses all reason.

It continues in a society that lost the ability to cry and be moved by pain.

Yes, Father, Jesus continues to walk, carry and suffer in all these faces while the world, indifferent, and in a comfortable cynicism consumes the drama of his own frivolity.

And we, Lord, what do we do?

How do we react to Jesus who suffers, walks, migrates into the faces of so many of our friends, from so many strangers that we have learned to be unvisitable?

And we, Father of mercy,

Do we comfort and accompany the Lord, helpless and suffering, in the smallest and most abandoned?

Do we help him carry the weight of the cross, like the Cyrene, being peace operators, creators of alliances, ferments of fraternity?

Do we encourage ourselves to remain at the foot of the cross like Mary?

We contemplate Mary, strong woman. From it we want to learn to stand next to the cross. With the same decision and bravery, no evasions or mirages. She was able to accompany the pain of her Son, your Son, Father, to hold him in the gaze, to shelter him with her heart. Pain he suffered, but he didn’t resign it. She was the strong woman of the “yes”, who holds and accompanies, shelters and embraces. She is the great custody of hope.


We too, Father, want to be a Church that sustains and accompanies, who knows how to say: Here I am! in the life and crosses of so many Christs who walk beside us.

From Mary we learn to say “yes” to the reluctant and constant stamina of so many mothers, fathers, grandparents who keep holding and accompanying their children and grandchildren when they are “in the bad”.

From it we learn to say “yes” to the stubborn patience and creativity of those who do not shrink and start over in situations that seem that everything is lost, seeking to create spaces, homes, centers of care that are hand lying in difficulty.

In Mary we learn the strength to say “yes” to those who have not kept quiet and do not silence themselves in the face of a culture of abuse and abuse, smear and aggression and work to provide opportunities and conditions of safety and protection.

In Mary we learn to receive and host all those who have suffered abandonment, who have had to leave or lose their land, their roots, their families, their work.

Father, like Mary we want to be a Church, the Church that promotes a culture that can welcome, protect, promote and integrate; that does not stigmatize and less generalize in the most absurd and irresponsible condemnation of identifying every migrant as a bearer of social evil.

From it we want to learn to stand next to the cross, but not with an armored and closed heart, but with a heart that knows how to accompany, that knows of tenderness and devotion; who understands mercy in dealing with reverence, delicacy, and understanding. We want to be a Church of memory that respects and values the elderly and claims their place as custodians of our roots.

Father, as Mary we want to learn to be.

Show us Lord to be at the foot of the cross, at the foot of the crosses; awakens our eyes, our hearts, tonight; rescue us from paralysis and confusion, fear and despair. Father, show us to say: Here I stand with your Son, with Mary and with so many beloved disciples who want to house your Kingdom in their hearts. Amen.

And having lived the Passion of the Lord with Mary at the foot of the cross, we leave with a silent and peaceful heart, joyful and eager to follow Jesus. May Jesus accompany you and may Our Lady take care of you. Good bye!

Taken from: Vatican Editrice Library

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